Thursday 12 Jun
Updated Thursday 12 Jun 14:00

Hammer Francesco eyes Open glory

Francesco Molinari's tilt at the US Open crown gets underway on Thursday evening at Pinewood in North Carolina, with the West Ham United supporter hopeful of giving the favourites for glory a run for their money.

The Italian, a three time winner on the European Tour, has never placed higher than 27th at the US Open, but will use his positive experience of helping Europe win the Ryder Cup in 2012 as inspiration for this attempt.

Turin-born Molinari took up his support of the Hammers upon moving to London, and tees off alongside America's Hunter Mahan and Welshman Jamie Donaldson at 6.58pm.

He told "It's hard to know [about my chances in majors]. If you look at the guys who have won them there are all different kinds of stories; there are guys who have been in contention a few times before winning and guys who have won at their first real chance.

"I don't want to say I will win, but I hope to do well and if I happen to be there on the final day I will do my best to win, if not I will just be happy playing well and getting a good result.

"I want to try and focus on doing as well as I can in the tournaments I play in. I will probably try to win one or two in the summer and then things will take care of themselves in regards to [the Ryder Cup at] Gleneagles."

As for the Hammers, Molinari had praise for the job done by Sam Allardyce in turning the 2013/14 season around after Christmas.

He added: "When I moved to London Gianfranco Zola was manager of West Ham and my coach, Denis Pugh, supports them - as do a few other friends of mine in London.

"It was the right move to keep Sam on as manager. At the moment it's about maintaining their place in the division and Allardyce has a good history of getting the result."